M&N Prosthetics: A Glossary of Basic Terms

Custom made prosthesesTerms used in this industry are often used interchangeably and can leave people feeling confused. This article will serve as a glossary of terms so when searching for the information you need when talking to your medical advisors about anything related to prosthetics you will be in the know. Consider this your glossary of terminology when discussing anything within the industry.

Prosthetics Terms

Understanding the terms within prosthetics, and how they are used, can become quite confusing as there are a few terms that mean similar things. Here is a failsafe way to ensure you always use the correct terminology:

Prosthetics –

This refers to an actual artificial limb or permanent prosthesis (which includes implants manufactured by engineers), as well as the branch of surgery which makes and fits said prosthetics and implants.

Prosthesis –

This also refers to an actual artificial limb, the plural of which is prostheses. Prosthetist – This is a person who practices prosthetics, the practitioner who builds and fits the actual prosthetic for patients.

Componentry –

portions of prosthesis attached to the main socket like knees and feet.

Gait –

manner of walking, the tread and pace.

Phantom sensation/pain –

the phenomenon whereby the amputee still feels sensations or pain in the limb that has already been removed.

Prosthetic liners–

this is imperative for a comfortably fitting prosthetic placed between the prosthetic and the residual limb to create a barrier that works to keep it clean as well as free from pain and discomfort. These along with the suspension sleeve mentioned below are collectively known as consumables.

Suspension sleeve –

a sleeve that is rolls over the prosthesis and onto the residual limb which creates a seal or vacuum which works to hold the prosthesis onto the residual limb. This improves proprioception which is how the brain knows where your limb is in space and time when your eyes are closed.

Residual limb –

The remainder of the limb post amputation (the stump).

Total contact –

the goal whereby the residual limb makes suitable contact with the socket at all points of the custom made prostheses.

Traumatic amputation –

The removal of a limb as the result of an injury caused by an accident.

Vascular amputation –

amputation as a result of impaired circulation where not enough blood reaches the limb and tissue begins to die.

Socket –

the part of the prosthesis which fits around the residual limb, usually with the help of consumables.

If you have any questions regarding the terms used in the prosthetics industry be sure to contact us at Meintjes and Neethling. Should you require assistance in either the prosthetics or orthotics industries we are qualified and ready to assist.